Questions tagged [bacteriology]

A subdivision of microbiology dedicated to the study of bacteria.

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134
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1answer
16k views

Do bacteria die of old age?

I know that the cells of mammals at least stop dividing when they are old, and then die a programmed cell death. Then other cells have to replace them. But in a bacterial colony, each cell ...
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6answers
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How do scientists kill the bacteria they themselves made resistant?

I was reading this article on researching bacteria resistance to silver by removing some of their genes. Researchers then used "colony-scoring" software to measure the differences in growth and ...
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5answers
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Can bacteria be killed by purely physical trauma?

In a question over on Skeptics Stack Exchange, I half-jokingly listed "blunt force trauma" as a means by which a bacterium could be killed. That makes me wonder if it really is only a joke ...
36
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2answers
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What is the advantage of circular DNA in bacteria?

From what I understand, bacteria have circular DNA. What advantages does it have over linear strands like for eukaryotes? Do there exist bacteria with more than one ring of DNA?
33
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2answers
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Can a bacterium infect another bacterium?

I researched about it by searching on Google and reading some bacteriological articles, but I did not get any answer. I also asked some of my teachers, and they were also a bit confused. Some said ...
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If a human takes antibiotics are all bacteria in the body killed?

From my basic understanding, antibiotics kill living things, bacteria for example. Do the antibiotics consumed by a human-being distinguish between what they kill? Or do they just kill every bacteria ...
29
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3answers
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Do viruses or bacteria have a flavour?

My 9 year old niece asked me this when I was explaining some stuff to her about the coronavirus. She asked "What does this virus taste like? Can I tell whether my sandwich is contaminated for ...
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3answers
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Hot water and bacteria

I know that it is common to say, "use hot water when washing your hands" or when you've got a cut, "wash your hands with warm water," etc. I was wondering, why is this the case? Since bacteria grow in ...
21
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2answers
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Is there a vaccine against the plague (Yersinia pestis)?

There seems to be recurrent events of infections of the plage (Yersinia pestis), from the well known Justinian plague to the Black Death and to recent years. In fact, two cases were reported in China ...
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Why don't we have vaccination against all diseases caused by microbes?

People can be vaccinated against certain diseases. Principle of vaccination is to use live attenuated load or inactivated. My question is - why we dont have vaccination against all diseases which are ...
20
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2answers
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How does isopropyl alcohol disinfect less in higher concentration?

Isopropyl alcohol (2-propanol) can be used as disinfectant. For increasing concentration of it in water, the effect as disinfectant increases, and then decreases again. Typical concentrations for ...
20
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1answer
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Did the Great Oxygenation Event also cause a mass extinction?

It's usually assumed that the Great Oxidation Event around 2.3 billion years ago caused a great extinction of anaerobic life on earth. However, I was reading Nick Lane's book, The Vital Question, and ...
18
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4answers
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What causes the development of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria?

I understand bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics due to selection pressures, but how do resistant bacteria process antibiotics when exposed to it, compared to non-resistant bacteria. Also, ...
18
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2answers
374 views

Why is there now only one Salmonella species?

Once upon a time, I chanced upon an old microbiology book that detailed the rather colorful world of enterobacteria. Salmonella in particular stood out, as it seemed there were a lot of species: typhi ...
16
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1answer
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Are the bacteria in the stomachs of unborn babies beneficial?

Babies are born with bacteria in their stomachs. I heard on The radio that when a child is given antibiotics for the first time unique bacteria in the stomach are destroyed and cannot be replaced. Is ...
15
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1answer
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How to obtain bacteria samples at home?

As the original question went from hold to closed, I thought I would write up a more appropriate question. How should one go about getting bacterial samples to look at under a microscope at home? ...
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3answers
59k views

What is the difference between an antibiotic and an antibacterial?

Concerning medicine, what are the differences between antibiotics and antibacterials?
15
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1answer
8k views

Why does Penicillin only affect bacterial cell walls

I was quite fascinated by the feature Should Science Pull the Trigger on Antiviral Drugs—That Can Blast the Common Cold? in this month's Wired magazine. They explain that Penicillin is effective at ...
15
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1answer
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What are the requirements for a stable carbon cycle in sealed “bottle gardens”`?

The most famous example of a sealed bottle garden is David Latimer's bottle with a Spiderworth plant, pictured below, which has been sealed for 40 years. My own attempt at a bottle garden is failing ...
14
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2answers
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How do prokaryotes perform cellular respiration without membrane-bound organelles?

In order to survive, prokaryotes such as bacteria need to produce energy from food such as glucose. In eukaryotic cells, respiration is performed by mitochondria, but prokaryotic cells do not have ...
14
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1answer
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How heavy are all foreign microorganisms in and on the human body?

I define "foreign microorganism" as a microorganism which is not produced by the human body (not antibodies or leukocytes) including bacteria, viruses, fungi, biofilm aggregates or small lifeforms ...
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2answers
6k views

Is there a bacterium that became a virus?

Is it possible for a virus to be a descendant of a bacterium that was not through horizontal gene transfer? How I think this could happen: Suppose a species of bacteria lives in an environment where ...
12
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3answers
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How long can E. coli stocks be stored at -20°C?

I'm volunteering for a biohacker lab - biocurious in Sunnyvale. The have a pretty good set of equipment - gel boxes, incubators, but they don't have a -80°C freezer yet. I'd like to set up some ...
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2answers
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How is the concept of species defined in asexual organisms?

In asexual organisms such as bacteria, archea and some fungi, as well as in some plants where asexual reproduction is the only reproductive strategy, how can we be unambiguous in defining if an ...
12
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2answers
255 views

Is there an equivalent to “Fields Virology” for Bacteria?

I've gotten a staggering amount of use out of my copy of Fields Virology as a general reference for "getting me up to speed" on whatever pathogen I'm currently looking at. I don't know of a similar ...
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3answers
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How are antibiotic resistant bacterial infections treated?

For example, how are infections of antibiotic resistant strains of MRSA, Streptococcus, or Gonorrhea treated?
12
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1answer
656 views

What bacteria do unborn babies contain?

This Scientific American article states that "[human] infestation [by bacteria] begins at birth". This would suggest that unborn babies are free from any bacteria. However, if the mother catches a ...
11
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2answers
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What is the advantage of using starter cultures for growing bacteria?

Many DNA isolation and protein expression protocols contain instructions to use a starter culture of E. coli that is then used to inoculate the main culture. What are the advantages of using starter ...
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2answers
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What kinds of bacteria live in water bottles?

I've always heard not to re-use disposable plastic water bottles. According to this Huffington Post article, the reason is because: everyday wear and tear from repeated washings and reuse can ...
11
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1answer
561 views

What are the functions of magnetic bacteria?

I'm trying to understand why are bacteria "equipped" with magnetosomes ("intracellular organelles in magnetotactic bacteria that allow them to sense and align themselves along a magnetic field") and ...
11
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1answer
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Why don't vaccines cause bacterial resistance?

Since bacteria can evolve to overcome antibiotic use, why wouldn't they be able to evolve to overcome antibody or cell-mediated immunity? (One possible explanation: antibiotics have only one target ...
11
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2answers
14k views

Why would taking antibiotics increase stamina and energy?

I often hear that people who are taking antibiotics experience wild fluctuations between feeling full of energy and completely alert but soon after feeling impossibly fatigued and sick. Does this ...
11
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2answers
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Do antibiotics attenuate immune response on subsequent exposure to same bacteria?

A healthy immune response to a bacterial infection includes "memory" to permit the body to thwart subsequent exposure to same bacteria. What are the dynamics of using antibiotics on initial exposure ...
11
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2answers
806 views

Can bacteria release free DNA into their environment?

Natural transformation AKA natural competence involves the uptake of DNA into a competent bacterium (for horizontal gene transfer or as a food source). My question is about where this extracellular ...
11
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1answer
538 views

Are these Gram stain substitutions acceptable?

In the context of a Gram stain on a blood smear: Are the following acceptable substitutions and/or what differences could arise by substituting them? Using methylene blue instead of crystal violet ...
10
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4answers
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Does a microwave oven disinfect food?

Imagine I am preparing food -- just about to put it into a microwave oven -- and some of it falls on the floor. Assuming it got some bacteria or other organisms (viruses?) on it, will the microwave ...
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3answers
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Why do Type II Restriction Endonucleases cleave at palindromic sequences?

Type II Restriction enzymes usually cut only at palindromic sequences. Is there any specific reason for that? Is there any advantage for bacteria if they cleave phage DNA at this type of sequence?
10
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1answer
524 views

What advantage would the initial 'donor' in horizontal gene transfer by conjugation have received?

I am struggling to think why horizontal gene transfer between bacteria would have persisted during the course of evolution as surely it puts the 'donor' at a disadvantage? For example, consider a ...
10
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1answer
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How long can Cholera bacteria survive in a dead host?

How long can cholera bacterium survive inside a dead host? Can they remain dormant in such conditions? BACKGROUND On a hill not far from where I live, there was a hospital operating since 16th until ...
10
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1answer
946 views

What bacteria shed harvestable energy from root zone organic matter?

I recently heard of a successful effort that harvests energy from soil at plants' bases due to apparently bacterial breakdown of wastes from the plants: Via photosynthesis a plant produces organic ...
9
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2answers
500 views

Where do the bacteria within the vagina originate from?

I understand that it's feasible the bacteria within the gastrointestinal tract originate from the food we eat and air we breath, but where does this population of microbes originate from?
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2answers
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Are there grass or fiber eating birds?

My understanding, that may be wrong, is that cellulose/fibre has little nutritional value to many animals because it's hard to break down thus making consumption inefficient. However, Ruminating ...
9
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1answer
3k views

Does rainwater contain many fewer micro-organisms than river water?

From watching many documentaries on micro-organisms, I can tell water typically contains quite a lot of them. But what about rainwater? (before it hits the ground). I know nothing about any micro-...
9
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1answer
257 views

Can a bacteriophage be used to treat bacterial diseases?

Some bacteriophages reproduce using the lytic cycle which ends with the destruction of the host bacterial cell. I was wondering if theoretically this could be used theraputically to treat bacterial ...
9
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2answers
208 views

Is taking a shower unnecessary if good bacteria surround our skin?

David Whitlock, a scientist, has not taken a shower for 12 years. Instead, he sprays a bacterial mist containing live bacteria to remove odor and maintain the number of good bacteria. It is because ...
9
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1answer
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Why are pili more common in Gram negative bacteria than in Gram positive?

Although pili have been observed in some species of Gram positive bacteria, the preliminary research that I have done indicates that pili are significantly more common in Gram negative bacteria. Is ...
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2answers
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Which bacteria have the highest mutation rate?

From my reading on M. tuberculosis, I know that this organism has a pretty high mutation rate due to uncorrected sloppy replication, which leads to a high rate of development of spontaneous resistance ...
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2answers
10k views

Why pick just a single bacterial transformed colony

So after bacteria have been transformed to perhaps grow up a plasmid of interest, why pick only a single bacterial colony from a selective plate for further expansion? I understand that this is to ...
8
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3answers
2k views

How quickly is antibiotic resistance lost?

I would imagine the bacterial genome is highly conserved and limited in its space, but maybe I am wrong. If you were to take a strain of antibiotic resistant bacteria and kept them isolated, but fed ...
8
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1answer
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Are bacteria necessary for an individual's life, or, how long could a person live without bacteria? [closed]

Bacteria are essential to life in that they are responsible for breakdown of organic substances, etc. but are bacteria necessary for an individual's life? In other words, how long would a human ...

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